Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Oral Sex and Cancer: In the United States, Oral Sex Outpaces Tobacco Use as the Leading Cause of Oral Cancer

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Oral Sex and Cancer: In the United States, Oral Sex Outpaces Tobacco Use as the Leading Cause of Oral Cancer

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

IN MOST OF THE WORLD, smoking or chewing tobacco is the primary cause of oral cancer, but recent research indicates that in the United States, the greatest risk comes from exposure to the human papillomavirus contracted through oral sex.

HPV is the virus most often associated with cervical cancer, but it's not just a health threat for women. More than 60% of the cancers of the mouth and pharynx are caused by HPV, researchers reported at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Maura Gillison, MD, the first scientist to note the link between the virus and oral cancers, said men and women who had oral sex with six or more partners in their lifetime had an eightfold increase in risk of oral cancer, compared to someone who has never performed oral sex, due to increased exposure to HPV. I've never seen as much oral cancer as I'm seeing now, and it's an observation that the research supports: There has been a huge jump in oral cancer rates from 1974 to 2007--a whopping 225% increase. …

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